Darwin Deez at The End, Nashville, TN 2/8/11
When Darwin Deez and his backing band walked onstage to Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” (Throw some Deez?) and launched into a dance routine before picking up their instruments, it was clear that the crowd at Nashville’s The End was in for a special night. Kicking the set off with the fantastic “Up In The Clouds,” the New Yorker introduced a truly unforgettable concert experience.
Deez and his band are nothing if not self-consciously weird–the multiple choreographed dance breaks and Deez’s signature scraggly hair and pencil mustache are proof of that. Between-songs banter included an anecdote about the band being ejected from downtown lounge Tootsie’s for their strange appearances earlier in the day. However, it takes a good amount of charisma and energy to pull these things off, and the calculated camp works in Deez’s favor. It also helps that band clearly practices playing together as much as dancing together, delivering the electronic-bolstered guitar pop jams without a hitch. The onstage vibe was as infectious as the songs, with guitarist Andrew showing off some impressive moves even when he wasn’t competing in dance battles against his bandmates.
Deez supplemented tracks from his self-titled debut album with a Das Racist-referencing rap from his recently-released Wonky Beats mixtape, which is built on samples from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Andrew, aka MC Baba Ghanoush, contributed his own verse before the full band closed the set with ebullient single “Radar Detector.” Even after that, the show wasn’t over until they had danced their way offstage to Miike Snow’s “Animal.” Darwin Deez is serious about having fun.